Ritesh Agarwal – Second youngest self-made billionaire in the world

Ritesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of Oyo Rooms. He is the second youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Photo via Orissadiary

While we all know that the the youngest self-made billionaire in the world is the famous American media personality, Kylie Jenner, most of us had no clue that the second youngest self-made billionaire is an Indian named, Ritesh Agarwal. According to Hurun Global Rich List 2020, Agarwal has a total networth of $1.1 Billion, which is the same amount as Jenner. However, since Agarwal is four years older than Jenner, he is named as the world’s second-youngest self-made billionaire just after six years of the start of his venture.

The 26-year-old Indian entrepreneur is the founder of OYO Rooms (On Your Own Rooms.) It is currently the largest Indian hotel network which has already spread to over 199 cities. But Agarwal’s dreams does not end here. Agarwal says that he is currently aiming to make OYO the world’s largest hotel chain. OYO is already the second largest hotel chain in the world.

The journey of Ritesh Agarwal

Ritesh Agarwal was nothing but a commoner like most of us. He doubted his own abilities to achieve good marks in college or even working for someone. Agarwal had therefore dropped out of college not long after he joined it in 2011. He says, “I knew if I had gone to college, I would not have done well. And then my family would hate me. So I felt if my family was to hate me anyway, I would rather do what I feel very excited about!”

Founder & CEO of OYO Rooms, Ritesh Agarwal. Photo via Forbes.

The 18-year-old back then, who hailed from a small town in Odisha of India, had started his entrepreneurial journey in Delhi in 2012. Agarwal says that his success was not an easy one to achieve.

At some point of his life, he had also been kicked out of his apartment with only $0.50 in his bank account. His life was not easy. But then, the tables started turned. It came to his mind, that a nearby hotel was empty almost all of the time. So, he went to the owner of the hotel, and decided to take the biggest risk of his life.

Agarwal made a promise to the owner of that hotel, that he would make the hotel a better place. And so, He did. He changed the light bulbs of the hotel, changed the bed and added room service and picture frames to the room to make it look more appealing. He then took nice pictures of the hotel room and posted on internet, to advertise and show everyone the splendid new hotel. He then changed the hotels name to OYO hotel. Agarwal launched the first hotel of OYO in 2013, at just the age of 19.

It was not as easy as it sounds for OYO to march into success. Agarwal had once mentioned that he had failed not once, but a total of six times before he succeeded in his OYO venture. He says that, “If you have not failed, you have not hardened yourself.”

Nevertheless, the young boy from a poor city of India, eventually grew his hotel chain and became the second youngest self-made billionaire in just 6 years. Agarwal,26, is now the CEO of over 23,000 hotels and 46,000 vacation homes making OYO the world’s second largest hotel chain.

Agarwal did not achieve all these with ease, he worked hard for it. He worked at night, he knocked on doors, he begged to get meetings and he even guessed emails of people to achieve success. When Agarwal was asked if he believed in luck, he said yes and that he believes, “if you work hard, your probability of being lucky increases dramatically.” Agarwal’s company, OYO is currently valued at $10 billion, moving forward to become the largest hotel chain in the world.